Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Victoria Urged To Follow South Australia’s Self-Funded Retiree Lead

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, called on the Bracks government to follow South Australia’s lead and give Victoria’s 70,000 self-funded retirees savings of more than $500 a year on their rates, car registration, electricity charges, water and sewerage.

She said Victoria must justify its refusal to accept an Australian Government offer of $75 million to the States and Territories to provide concessions for energy, rates, water and sewerage and motor vehicle costs for their Commonwealth Seniors Health Card Holders (CSHC).

Last week, South Australia took the lead and entered negotiations with the Australian Government to give its 20,000 self-funded retirees who are eligible for the CSHC access to a range of concessions.

Senator Patterson said: “Although the provision of concessions is a State government responsibility, the Australian Government is offering a joint funding agreement, with the Australian Government contributing 60 per cent and the States 40 per cent of the costs of providing the concessions.

“Self-funded retirees are an important group in our society, having provided for their own retirement. Providing discounts such as these is just one way we can recognise and acknowledge the contribution they have made and continue to make to Australia.

“These negotiations have been made possible through the Australian Government’s ongoing persistence that all State and Territory governments allow self-funded retirees the same concessions available to those who receive the Age Pension.

“I now urge the other State and Territory governments to join South Australia in entering these negotiations which can only benefit older Australians.

“I am sure that the 70,000 CSHC card holders in Victoria will want to know why the Bracks government continues to treat them as second-class citizens when the South Australian Labor government has done the right thing by its self-funded retirees.”